Working on the move, how flexible workspace plays a crucial role in driving today’s economy, how remote office services help business owners maintain professionalism—even when working from home (or from the beach!)—and how to start a business from anywhere.
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Matt Sullivan [00:00:46] Hi, guys, it’s Matt what Sullivan solutions, and this is your marketing man. Happy New Year, I hope you had a great holiday season. Let’s talk about the holidays, did you know it’s believed after this holiday season that 50 percent of all Americans now own a smart speaker? That includes things like Amazon, Alexa, Google home and other products. So how should this affect your marketing strategy going forward? Well, I believe that if we’re searching for something, we’re looking to buy a product, we’re looking for a local service. We’re not going to want to listen to long lists of services and offers. What we’re gonna want to do is go with what’s mentioned first, and I believe that’s always advertising. And so I believe you’re going to want to look in the new year into investing into these platforms. And what I can tell you about these smart speakers is a lot of them use Google for advertising and a lot of them use Yelp for their reviews. And so my tip for you to do some further digging and see if it’s worth the investment for your business is look into advertising on those platforms. All right, guys, I hope you found that to be a profitable tip. Have a great year. I’ll see you in a little bit.
Announcer 2 [00:03:16] Hey, everybody, welcome to the show and another exciting week here at eggs. This week, we have an exciting guest, his name is Frank Cottle. He’s a timeless futurist with primary expertise on the future of work, which for anybody who listens to the show. No, that’s kind of a hot, hot topic around here. He’s founder and CEO of Alliance Virtual Offices. He’s a really experienced business leader, an engaging speaker who will appeal to listeners of all ages and backgrounds, from Gen Z to boomers all over the globe, from his home and sometimes his coworking center in Southern California. Frank will offer enlightening insights and a huge drain on a huge range of topics, including investment banking, finance, commercial real estate, workplace technology and, most importantly, the future of work and coworking. He’s also a bit of a pro and windsurfing and cycling and some other fun things, so maybe we’ll get into that a little bit. Anyway, he’s here with us he’s happy to share his visionary insights and experiences to help listeners explore fresh perspectives on business, lifestyle and new ways of working. Everyone, welcome to the show. Our guest, Frank Cottle.
DJ Ontic [00:04:22] Hey, Frank, how’s it going?
Frank Cottle [00:04:23] It just fine, thank you very much for allowing me to address your audience.
DJ Ontic [00:04:27] No, thank you for making time to come on. We really appreciate it.
Frank Cottle [00:04:30] My pleasure.
DJ Ontic [00:04:33] I’m sure you get this on every interview you do, but give us a little bit of backstory. I heard you kind of got out of college and went into commercial diving in sailing yachts and fun stuff like that.
Frank Cottle [00:04:44] Yeah, yeah. I was lucky when I started my career I started really working my way through college as a commercial diver and did some interesting work as a contractor to one of our U.S. federal agencies during the Vietnam War era. So I think they just call that interesting work and we leave it.
Ryan Roghaar [00:05:09] You could tell us, but you’d have to tell us.
Frank Cottle [00:05:12] No, no, no, except we’d have to kidnap you, and that’s actually more fun. And then when I got married in the very early 70s, in 1971, my wife and I decided that that wasn’t a good career choice. And so I started reaching yachts and it seemed to work out well. My love with the ocean left on the ocean all my life. And so it was a natural thing for me to do.
DJ Ontic [00:05:40] So do you follow the America’s Cup at all?
Frank Cottle [00:05:44] Oh, yes. As a matter of fact, I worked with Bill Thicker of the Intrepid series and also on the Stars and Stripes. So the running the business manager for the America’s Cup.
DJ Ontic [00:05:53] OK, do you know Dallas will Cat?
Frank Cottle [00:05:55] No, I don’t.
DJ Ontic [00:05:56] He Does a carbon fiber work, man On the 2017 one it flipped.
Frank Cottle [00:06:02] Oh, okay. Well that that was before my year I come from the old 12 meter.
DJ Ontic [00:06:07] OK. I don’t go far, I got in my buddy heat he’s a friend from Anacortes House Washington, and I got into doing carbon fiber work and ended up working on the World’s Cup and working for Erkel and that did not come back. He did most carbon fiber work on that, which is really cool.
Frank Cottle [00:06:25] I work closely with Fiber Spa for a while and I held the record in windsurfing for the most bones broken almost off the circuit. So I, I would hold it until it snapped, that was fun, at least it was a fun record to have it wasn’t it. Yeah.
DJ Ontic [00:06:47] Did you get up to Hood River very often?
Frank Cottle [00:06:50] Not very often. I honestly I, I don’t like the gorge. OK, The sailing is great and the water is great. But like I feel real. I’m an ocean guy. OK, so I feel really constrained going wall to wall as they call it, back and forth across the river. It’s I want to keep going and just I don’t want to have to turn because I see the, you know, the other bank coming at me so fast. So I’m more about Mexico. What you got?
DJ Ontic [00:07:14] Nice.
Ryan Roghaar [00:07:14] Nothing wrong with that. Well, warmer down that way, too.
Frank Cottle [00:07:17] Oh yes, indeed.
Ryan Roghaar [00:07:18] OK, so hold set to continue on. So eventually you get into yachting, you start doing all this stuff.
Frank Cottle [00:07:23] Given the yachting and we built a whole bunch of us, we worked and built quite a large yacht brokerage at the same time and as we’re sailing and a bunch of young guys, we had a wonderful I’ll call them partner or owner but patron. A fellow behind the company that just only wanted to do things perfect and right. And money didn’t matter because he was exceedingly wealthy. And it was all about the quality and and the way we represented things so, it was a fabulous environment to mature in as a businessman, because of the focus. And the other thing that was cool is, you know, you’re hanging out with some pretty interesting people in the yatching world, very, very successful, generally. You mentioned Oracle a minute ago, you’re hanging out with guys like Ellison. You learn a lot.
Ryan Roghaar [00:08:16] Yes. I’m sure.
Frank Cottle [00:08:16] You get to see a lot of successes. And you also see a lot of failures. The failures usually are lifestyle failures, not not business failures, lifestyle failures. You know, somebody is going to they’re 65 years old, they own their second trophy wife, their kids hate them and they’re going to take the cruise of a lifetime that they dreamed of and worked so hard for the last 50 years. You start… It’s like a thing, they they didn’t balance their life and for me, that balance is what’s always been the most important.
Ryan Roghaar [00:08:49] Yeah I was gonna say I think that’s a really key point, actually, to touch on, because I think that’s one of the bigger struggles everybody has. You know, all here work life balance but I think generally what they think is they need more time off. It’s not as much about really finding and striking that perfect balance, you know, between the amount of time you spend working and building your life so that later in life you can be sustained.
Frank Cottle [00:09:12] I mean, you think I always think of your life it really is finely woven cloth and the differences in time really are like the threads that touch each other so it’s not like, “I need to work real hard they don’t take time off”. No, no I need to every day work hard and every day take time off and every day have some time for my family and everyday be some time to be a good student and to learn these things and it’s a daily thing, it’s not a sections of your life thing. At least to me that’s that’s the way I look at it.
DJ Ontic [00:09:48] Small things add up over time, two hours of study each day turns into a lot of time over the year.
Frank Cottle [00:09:54] Yes, it does.
DJ Ontic [00:09:56] So you mentioned, you know, being around the, you know, Oracle and those kind of people, you learned a lot. But didn’t you kind of come up from a business family? Wasn’t your dad pretty..?
Frank Cottle [00:10:06] Yeah our our family, we’re a family steeped in farming and ranching going back. Gosh, umpteen generations before statehood here in California and my father was primarily in the food production and distribution end of that, we still had some farms or ranches when he was around. And so I grew up in an entrepreneurial family with a serial entrepreneur dad who had built a number of companies quite successfully and so, when it came time for me to create a career, the concept of working for someone else instead of with someone else or with a team or are on my own, which I’ve always kind of been sort of a lone wolf, I just couldn’t I couldn’t understand it. I always thought that college education, at least that I had was always teaching you to go to work for IBM or something, that just didn’t work for me. For me, college was a time when you have to learn how to make decisions. And if you can do that one thing, learn how to make decisions as well and your time spent in schools was well worthwhile.
DJ Ontic [00:11:22] You know, you shared a story on another podcast and I checked out yesterday about your dad and commodities and ship it. Can you talk about.
Frank Cottle [00:11:32] Oh, yeah, we’re in the food production distribution business and we had cold storage facilities in Los Angeles, among other things and my dad would speculate in the commodities market, primarily with fresh foods or frozen foods. Fryeries, roasters, pork bellies, things of that nature. And whenever he would go one way and the market, he’d buy something short. Well, then if it turned long, he would just say that it always threw people off. They’d say it was like we’re talking like ten carloads of pork belly cart, car loads being one hundred and sixty thousand pound freezer container in the train car. Yeah, So they need to sit on it until the market turned again.
DJ Ontic [00:12:31] And then he sell it himself.
Frank Cottle [00:12:32] Then he sell it himself, right. And we were fortunate that we had large institutional customers for the company, the school systems, prison systems, the U.S. Army, big tour, cruise lines and things of that nature so, the volume was a little low margin, but but high volume and, we worked in, you know, quarter of a cent, half cent a pound increments for margin sometimes but in the millions of pounds so…
Ryan Roghaar [00:13:07] Yes, that works out, cool. Well, so let’s get back to your story a little bit and just talk about the move from yachting and all this fun entrepreneurial stuff that you were doing and all the lessons you learned and kind of you began to transition into this world of executive offices and things like that. Can you just talk about kind of that move? Because they don’t seem super related outside of just being entrepreneurial?
Frank Cottle [00:13:30] Well, actually, when I wasn’t the only business out here from Newport Beach and a lot of people in Newport Beach at the time, a lot of my clients were in residential and commercial real estate development. And I looked at that business and we started actually in the mid 70s and residential apartment buildings, buying apartments, refurbishing the complexes and then sitting on them and flipping it really and spinning up into larger projects, larger, larger projects and I found honestly that I didn’t like that business. It was too management intensive on little things. It was really kind of painful, even though we were fairly large and had a management company and everything I wasn’t necessarily fixing toilets or anything like that, but it was a pretty good business and I just decided to move over to the commercial side as an investment and then got intrigued with the concept of shared workspace, executive suites, land banking, things of that nature, and decided that I had sailed and hung out on the yachting scene long enough and that I was time for me as my dancer it was time for me to put my long pants on, which was kind of interesting. Consider we at the time we had the largest yacht brokerage in the world so, that was pretty long pants business.
Ryan Roghaar [00:15:03] Yeah, I guess. I mean, that seems like pretty long pants to me.
Frank Cottle [00:15:06] But, you know, for him it was. No, you know, you’re still playing on boats, right? So we started call it 1980 with a landbank theory of buying property, buying a piece of dirt on the edge of a large commercial development with additional entitlement meaning if we, bought a… We plan to put up a fifty thousand foot building without the right with the land to build five hundred thousand feet and the key to that kind of a theory is always, well, how do you afford to buy the land and hold onto it for the six or eight or 10 years that it takes for the location to mature to where it’s time to build a larger building on it? And we discovered these funny little things called executive suites, which back in the early, late 70s, early 80s were brand new. And we determined that we could generate the most amount of revenue with the smallest amount of bricks and mortar to sit on the biggest piece of land with the greatest entitlement that we could hold for 10 years by building buildings that had executive suites. We’re focused on executive suites. So I’m doing 1980 and 1990 we built the portfolio across California, Arizona and Texas, those kind of buildings.
DJ Ontic [00:16:25] So didn’t you do something like you would build one every hundred and ten days and then you did it and you did that for 10 years?
Frank Cottle [00:16:34] Well, yes, for 10 years we did it, but we didn’t flip the buildings over, real quick, we hold onto the buildings as long as possible and really sold the portfolio at the end of the 10 year period and, it was we were going through quite a development phase and it was quite interesting and it was also quite exhausting, you know, because we built across California, Arizona, Texas so, there was a lot a lot of moving parts there.
Ryan Roghaar [00:17:00] Sure, yeah. Now, that’s pretty cool, though and, you know, I mean, based on the timeframe you’re talking about, I think that was pretty innovative thing to be doing. You know, is it it’s becoming more and more commonplace, this idea of coworking and renting an executive suite and things like that. But I mean, it really seems like you’re on the cutting edge of that kind of idea.
Frank Cottle [00:17:18] Well, actually, at times the bleeding edge, I think. You know, the cutting edge is always a little bit bloody and we learned a lot. We made some terrible mistakes in our first four or five years, we way over developed the properties, particularly in terms of technology. I’m looking at your guys video images and also I’ll ask you, where were you in 1980?
Ryan Roghaar [00:17:45] Just about a baby boy in 1980.
Frank Cottle [00:17:47] Yeah, in 1980, P.C’s Didn’t exist.
Frank Cottle [00:17:51] Okay.
Ryan Roghaar [00:17:52] I know it’s interesting just how fare things are gone.
Frank Cottle [00:17:54] In our centers, we put together in the first year a joint venture with Bell Labs to basically have the first business facility that simultaneously transmitted both voice and data over for period twisted cable. We built a customer was called then a mux box, which was what you’d call today, a router, the joint voice and data, and we put in big digital switches and big minicomputers and we put touchscreen terminals on every desk that was interconnected with the central service core. So things that were way beyond people’s understanding of even how to use. Yeah, we were the first commercial installation of ISDN in a joint venture with GTE the Smart Parts Concepts. So we’ve always pushed technology as part of our business model and sometimes way too far that you had explained airable. Look, this is how it really works I mean, people were using telexes back then. And here we had the touchscreen technologies and amazing data.
Ryan Roghaar [00:19:00] Yeah, no that’s a… I mean it really is, you know, how amazing things are you know and I mean, nowadays, when you’re looking for coworking space, like great Wi-Fi is about at all, anybody will promise you. But from today, from just the you know, the little laptop computer, like in our case, we’re running multiple cameras, multiple, you know, audio setups or running all this stuff off of just a couple little machines. You know, we’ve got 10 times the technology packed in this laptop. Yeah, you guys were doing this, you know, 30 years ago.
Frank Cottle [00:19:25] 40 years ago.
Ryan Roghaar [00:19:26] 40 years ago, I guess. Yeah, that’s right I turned 39 next month so, yeah, yeah.
Frank Cottle [00:19:31] So you were just a newborn to your parents at that time.
Ryan Roghaar [00:19:34] Yes, but acutely aware of 40 years ago all of a sudden.
Frank Cottle [00:19:38] But it was really fun and, you know, always being on this leading edge of the combination of technology and developing the concepts today our industry combines people, place, and technology, sprinkles in the concept of community and delivers the entire bundle package with a highly flexible service agreement. And if you look at what all businesses need today, the easy to say all business and the clients, all businesses need access to capital growth and sustenance. And all businesses need flexibility, because of the various economic cycles that we go through year after year, decade after decade and so, by bringing flexibility to the workplace very early on and combining with the things that in a bundle package that all businesses have to have. But most small business in particular aren’t prepared to manage people as good example, I don’t see any clerical, secretarial, administrative support sitting around, do you guys?
Ryan Roghaar [00:20:45] No, no.
Frank Cottle [00:20:48] It’s painful, It’s painful hiring, firing, interviewing, maintaining, worrying about sick leave, vacations, benefits. These things take a lot away from the entrepreneurs, focus on their core business.
Ryan Roghaar [00:21:00] Yeah, that’s true. I mean, to that point, like right now we’re in the process of trying to hire like a personal assistant executive, assistant for my ad agency. And the amount of time and resources I’m having to spend just trying to find the right candidate vs. what I should be doing. You know, in terms of business, you know, new business or whatever, it’s amazing and, you know, I mean, we’re just a smallish firm, you know? So we don’t do a ton of hiring and so we’re not like pros at it you know, it’s a little here a little there.
Frank Cottle [00:21:28] Let’s use this as a Segway over to virtual offices and flexibility for a second, let’s assume that you guys were going to start your company and you needed to go to a V.C, raise a million dollars and I was going to start my company and I needed to go to V.C and raise a million dollars. And when I walked in, I said to the V.C, Hey, I need a million dollars I’m doing amazing stuff, and he said, well, what are you going to do with that million dollars? and I said, I’m gonna go to go get an office, I’m going to hire a PDA, I’m going to buy some photocopier imaging equipment I need a phone system and I’ve got to put it in a computer network blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Goes on and on and on, so he looked at me he says, OK and then after that of my hires, some engineers have built some cool stuff. You walk in the same V.C. And say, hey, we’re starting this really great marketing company, we need two million dollars, he says. What are you gonna do? He says, I’m going to move into a coworking center and hire some engineers. Who’s gonna get the money, you or me?
Ryan Roghaar [00:22:35] Yeah, it sure seems like the safer bet to go the…
Frank Cottle [00:22:37] Yeah, you’re going to get the money. One of our primary groups that we interact with are venture capitalists, seed investors, etc. that come to us to help housing the host almost an incubator or accelerate TECH capacity. The companies that they invest in because the business model gives flexibility, reduces costs, reduces cap-ex, and also allows the entrepreneur to focus on their core business model.
Ryan Roghaar [00:23:06] Yeah, now it makes sense I mean, there caught up in building out a space or any of this other stuff and the amount of money that goes into doing all that work right there is escalating down to brass tacks are getting right to it.
DJ Ontic [00:23:16] Can we talk about your business model a little bit? I kind of like it because you’re kind of going away from the brick and mortar and owning the business and standard, owning the actual real estate. You kind of own the customer, kind of like the I think you called it like the Marriott or the who else does that?
Frank Cottle [00:23:35] Well, I think if you were to look at the hospitality industry that a company like Regus in our industry is a good example would be very much like Marriott. They own or lease their facilities, manage their facilities, and they service to companies from those facilities. Our company really is more like Expedia we own the customer and service the customer and a host of house to customer in all variety, whether it’s Marriott or Hilton or any other hospitality provider. We do it with offices of office buildings and virtual office complexes, business centers, coworking centers, etc., beating in conference room reservations and booking systems. So we’ve migrated over our 40 year history now from property company. We sold that portfolio after about 10 years to an operating company very similar to Regus, which we had about 10 or 12 years to now we’re a business services and technology company that not only services the customer, but also services the industry at large. So, we have booking and reservations and management systems that hundreds of cool operators in 54 countries use today. We have the industry’s largest news and information networking system, our social reach last month was over nine hundred and fifty thousand. So that’s incredible. We’re pretty big in that regard, we manage the industry’s largest charitable foundation, which we established on behalf of the industry. We even manage a coffee company that serves coffee to our industry across North America, where all the profits go to charity. So I’m very much, very much industry activist as well as operating company.
DJ Ontic [00:25:37] So, saying I’m Joe Schmo and I want to go and rent a virtual office from you. What’s the process, I just go to the website…?
Frank Cottle [00:25:45] You can open 10 offices in 10 cities in 10 countries in 10 minutes. Well, it’s that simple, think of booking a hotel room on Expedia or any looking you go and you say, that’s a hotel I want to stay at, that’s a city I want to be in, I want a deluxe room book it. Is that simple and once you are setting in, then we follow up with additional items you might need with indeed a landline telephony system tied to that, whether you’re going to want to set up a network of offices or possibly a network of meeting rooms around the office. You’ve established really whatever it is that you require in order to make your business successful we have not just a technology, but a very concierge level service departments and to support the customers that utilize our virtual office.
DJ Ontic [00:26:46] So let’s go on the other hand. See, I own a coworking company and I want to get listed on your network. Do you have a vetting process that you go through?
Frank Cottle [00:26:55] Yes, we do and it’s really based on this simple concept that there’s any variety of facilities, but there should only be one standard of service. And I’ll give you kind of an extreme example if you have a five star facility in London, it’s going to be pretty nice if you have a five star facility in India, it’s going to be really nice, too. But there might be a cow walking through the lobby. Okay, because cows are sacred. OK, so the fact that you have a variety of facilities to service, all needs in all markets, not every market is a five star market, even in major places like London, you have a lot of four and three star markets and a lot of four and three star budgets. So we try and create a band with the facilities, but through the vetting process, insist that we only have facilities with five star service and support. So, we don’t have the biggest potential network in the world, and we want to maintain that quality, people are depending upon that to build their business, and that means their families are dependent upon it. So you don’t want to be shabby about this, though.
DJ Ontic [00:28:14] So what are the type of things you’re looking for in a five star facility, high speed Internet, conferece rooms..?
Frank Cottle [00:28:20] Bandwidth, bandwidth, bandwith of course and the dependency, the inability of it and the proper management of it. You guys, you’ve got a bunch of video stuff going right now I imagine you transfer a bunch of video files back and forth. You’re kind of bandwidth hogs, OK. So if we have a free and in common bandwidth system and a center where everybody just sharing it, almost no matter how big the pipe is that I put in there, you’re going to dominate it. And the poor attorney next door isn’t able to get his e-mail. OK. So we have to it’s not just having bandwidth. It’s how you manage the band with the bandwidth systems relative to the individual users. You do that down to the individual IP addresses or the individual ports of the individual offices or workstations. So you have to not just have a big pipe, you’ve got to manage it well so, we look for people are using good management, operating systems, people that have good public areas. The most important thing you’re going to do, aside from this amazing interview with me is have a meeting. So we want to make sure that the meeting facilities are good and that the these facilities are good in the meeting rooms and that you’re the guests that come in and have access to that bandwidth too how they how the guests are treated, because we’re not here. This is really just to make you happy. But we’re here to make your customers happy, so you can succeed.
DJ Ontic [00:29:58] How important are statics to you? Do you think the… You know, the spit polishing and the extra steps are important or is it just functionality?
Frank Cottle [00:30:13] Cleanliness is the most important part of spit polish, so to speak, when it comes to esthetic standards. You can have a very simple’s centered design wise, just like a very simple restaurant design wise. But if it’s spotless, clean and the service is good, then you’re going to be happy there. You saw it when you bought it you know what you were paying for. And it’s spotless, clean, if you go into a really cool center, that’s great design and imagine this and that but, you know, the receptionist is kind of surly and the restrooms dirty. I don’t care what the design is, how much it cost it’s not good. Yeah, it’s just not good. So you’re spit and polish isn’t about the most expensive materials, but it’s really about the care, the customer care and that starts with smiles and cleanliness, really.
Ryan Roghaar [00:31:07] And makes sense. Well, hey, let’s take kind of like a half step back and so as we’ve sort of discovered through this conversation, we notice that, you know, you guys, your consortium of yourself and other entrepreneurs that you’re surrounded by, we’re really on the cutting edge and a little bit ahead or the bleeding edge, as we talked about on sort of this whole, coworking movement for people and it seems funny to us, because I so our podcast studio is actually located inside a coworking space who we partnered with, build out the studio. And I personally and my business forego our forwent having a brick and mortar office when we move to Utah 6 years ago and now work exclusively out of different coworking spaces. So I’m really, really familiar to this and I mean, I just got back from Los Angeles last week, and I work out of one downtown and, you know, same kind of thing. You know, I use these spaces all over the place and but I wonder if you could talk a little bit I mean, it seems so funny that people wouldn’t have a good understanding of it already. But can we talk about sort of the future of business? We talked about in, like trying to get venture capital why people might choose coworking or an option, like using alliance to make that choice. But could we talk a little bit about sort of the future of business and how you think that maybe brick and mortar is going to start sloughing off and people might start to embrace coworking more and more? You know, for reasons we’ve discussed and others.
Frank Cottle [00:32:29] Well, I think first will define the industry a little bit and then move it forward. As I said a minute earlier our industry consists of all providers that combined people, place and technology and ad community as a concept to that on a highly flexible service agreement. And they’re all bundled together. So that’s the first step and within our industry, there are different brands or models you can see there is a classic business center brand. We mentioned Regus a minute ago there they have a brand promise of professional imaging services coworking centers as such as you’re in today, probably has a brand promises is for you a business growth through a collaborative community. Combined with that, people place a technology. An incubator adds mentoring to either a business or a coworking center. An accelerator adds access to access to capital, to an incubator. Today, we’re seeing logistics centers, media centers, culinary centers, all variety of structures around this: people place, technology, community concept. So that to what our industry is, the migration of that today is being filled with a tremendous growth of our industry, at least triggered by the migration and changes in hiring and employment structures globally, which have driven a lot by technology and mobility and technology. I mentioned when we first started out, we used big digital switches, many computers, all tied to cables. Today you have more power in your smartphone than we had back then. So mobility is tremendous effect, there is 1.8 As of the end of last year, there’s 1.8 billion mobile workers globally and that’s defined by people who work away from their core office permanently two or more days a week. So the migration is huge there the other migration that’s huge is contract. If you were to take your favorite big company, you mentioned Oracle’s so, let’s go with Oracle. Oracle 5 or 10 years ago, put out their annual report they said we made a whole bunch of revenue, made a whole bunch of profit, we had 500,000 employees worldwide. OK, today, when you see the same annual report, they’d say, well, we’ve made a whole bunch of revenue and a whole bunch of profit, we have a workforce of 500,000. So because of those 500,00 people, a third of them are now contractors. And so the big migration isn’t just to contracting, but it’s to the alignment in business between your workforce and your balance sheet, and that comes as a result of changing your fixed asset models. So if you have a workforce of 500,000 today with a third of them as contractors on a 1 to 3 year contracts, you don’t want to have 10 year, 15, 20 year leases on 30 percent of your space.
Frank Cottle [00:35:47] You don’t, want to have one to three years service agreements that match your employment model so that the negative liabilities of those long term leases, which are really debt instruments, can drop off your balance sheet and impact the share value of your company. And what do you say? Well, how many peoples that mean? Just how many people does a global Fortune 1000 employ? Staggering. OK. Let’s take a third of them and move them into our industry tomorrow. OK. Sorry about that one, but that’s what’s happening all over the world. Then you’ve got the other thing right now, what was in the news here in the U.S. today that our Congress is not going to shut down because they’re going to agree on some budget issues. OK. So isn’t that wonderful? But what budget for government is a 1 year thing and yet buildings and leases were government averages around 12 to 15 years. So if they, if government can get to our model, which they’re migrating to every way they can of having their lease liabilities match their budget structures, that’s really a have a huge impact on our national debt. So all these things that inter relate it’s not as simple as co-working is cool and I’ve got a better beard than you, who cares? What matters is the underlying structure of the economics that are driving it. And it’s flexibility in the workplace required to change the balance sheets of companies to enhance shareholder value, all these mega trends combined with technology and then in 20, 22, 23 technology is going to change everything on its ear again and completely repurpose probably a third of all commercial real estate in the world and why we see this happening. And it’s happening as a result of issues around Gen Z that we see coming up and some of the major technology companies that are actually in the gaming industry,.
DJ Ontic [00:38:01] The VR world. Yeah, we have some people in the same building that are working on some VR projects, it’s pretty neat. I know nothing about it but just putting the goggles on and actually experiencing the VR experiences. It’s I can see where it’s going, it’s something big.
Frank Cottle [00:38:17] Well, we believe that we are we are a technology based company today, software as a service style company. But we think that the coworking, the center that you’re in, 20, 22, 23 was one of their core products, will not just be bandwidth, but they’ll be selling full interactive virtual reality software that allows you to create the office you want where you are inside of the facility. And what that does is it dramatically changes the value of real estate so, that was one example. Let’s assume that I have a big thousand foot personal office at the top of a high rise building in Manhattan. Nice big corner office overlooking Central Park. Well, that’s a very expensive office that’s a twenty thousand dollar a month office for me. OK, but by 2022-23, I’ll be able to slip on a headset in the Bronx, dialing the software for the coolest office in Manhattan pay 50 dollars a month for that software and be sitting at a 48 inch cube and not know the difference. So, it’s due to the value of the office overlooking the park in Manhattan is going to change you and that change in the value due to technology, which will be driven by Gen Z, who’s used to gaming with headsets and all the gaming companies that are trying to extend the time lifecycle of their customers that are growing up away from games to other products to take advantage of the same rendering technologies they use and gaming. So all of this is occurring right now and so as you go into the cities, the change of commercial space, the value of commercial space will change radically, which means you’ll have more mixed use in these buildings. So, the ability to increase housing and lower housing costs and also have higher density, which will reduce transportation issues etc.
Ryan Roghaar [00:40:25] Interesting.. So hey, I wonder if you could talk a little bit about so we… You mentioned, you know, basically you guys had invested in a bunch of property, sold off that portfolio and then began developing this version or this iteration of the coworking where now you’re more of a Sask company. And all I hear from a lot of people anyway, is that, you know, real estate investment is the thing and everybody needs to be owning property. But it sounds like you purposefully took a step out of that world. And, you know, and I guess, you know, the overhead is much higher and things like that, like I can think of net pros versus cons of doing that. But I wondered if you would talk a little bit about that move, like, you know, how come you decided that was, you know, more valuable and more profitable, more whatever to do business in the way you’re doing it, where you’re a broker for other people’s spaces versus owning themselves?
Frank Cottle [00:41:11] Well, we’re not a broker number one, we’re a wholesaler. Big difference, and that’s about the customer. We actually, on a wholesale basis, are the customer to the business or the co-working center and we own the customer on Orient, so that’s a major difference.
Ryan Roghaar [00:41:28] Yes, it is I’m sorry about that.
Frank Cottle [00:41:30] Please correct yourself.
Frank Cottle [00:41:33] But originally we were operators or when we own the property, we like the business model. But it’s a very capital intensive model to build out. If you’re going to scale large so, we when that portafolio was sold, we became an operator and did just what regus an HQ and we worked out is doing and other companies are doing we leased space for landlords and chopped it up into our model. Maybe that’s a model with a coworking here and then relayed it to our clients with our business service model. After a while, you start to look at your own balance sheet you say, you know, this is not as expensive as building the buildings. We’re growing a lot faster but, we still every time we sign a lease, that’s a 10 year debt instrument. So the balance sheet of the company gets worse and worse and worse the larger you get. And that holds the value of the company back, overall and I decided that at a point that the business model wasn’t as efficient as owning the customer. And I’ll use Regus as a good example, regus is a great company other major competitors have been for years. The owner is a great guy, by the way, we’re good friends even though, our competitors and their business model, the value that company, though, is being held back by the negativity of their balance sheet. We work is worth much more than Regus today because they’ve convinced the market that their balance sheet doesn’t matter is it really a tech company in disguise, whether that’s true or not? We’ll wait and see I think that they’re kind of inflating the value quite a bit. But still, that’s their story and they’re sticking to it. So, different business models all have different valuations the soft wear today has out the best valuation for every dollar of revenue and certainly dollar profit of anything out there. So, we shifted not because real estate is bad. The ownership of real estate is wonderful, but the leasing of real estate is bad and it’s bad because of cyclicality. Right now, since you guys have been pushing your careers, there’s been you’ve been on one half one economic cycle. Basically, from oh six, forward it down a little bit. Oh, 6 or 8 and then slowly creeping up and then growing nicely. You haven’t been on a big downward slammed the other way and when that happens, all the people that have taken the leases at the height of the market, we work as an example, are going to find that the market drops 20 percent. Now, their leases are way overpriced they’re going to reprice deals with way, way overpriced. And then somebody comes in at that lower price. Leases the space across the street from them, has a lower basis and operating costs puts him out of business. So real estate is good when you own it is not necessarily good when you rent.
Ryan Roghaar [00:44:59] That makes sense so, it in terms of like trying to scale and take your operation larger, that would have been hinging on you guys generating enough income to buy another building and things like that and that just maybe doesn’t scale as quickly as this.
Frank Cottle [00:45:10] Well, it’s very capital intensive and again, we felt that the. Well, I’ll use the valuations in our industry, classic small coworking company is worth if they want to sell the company, if it’s got seven years remaining on its lease so it can sustain itself and businesses two or three and a half to five times its evident earnings before taxes, interest and depreciation. Three and a half to five times. And that’s for trailing habit twelvemonth trailing habit a software company, a SAS company is worth the new place between 10 to 22 times its 12 months forecasted revenues. Which business you want to be in?
Ryan Roghaar [00:45:52] Yeah right. Yeah, well, of course and I mean, I’m just even thinking the practical matters, right I believe you said you guys are in 54 countries I mean, trying to own and operate and maintain and, you know, build and renovate and update property across the planet like that. Probably not super practical.
Frank Cottle [00:46:08] It takes well, you look at the amount of money that we were just spending to try and get there. We work today is about 15 to 20 percent the size of Regus, they’ve already spent about 8 billion dollars to get there and they’re about 20 percent the size of Regus.
Ryan Roghaar [00:46:25] Wow, that’s insane. So, yes, I guess that makes sense, though almost like even though and correct me if I’m wrong so, but it seems like maybe now almost like your father’s business you know. Maybe because as a wholesaler, you’re taking a little less money per client maybe, because now you’re having to split it with whomever you’re wholesaling to, but you’re doing much more business and you don’t have all the overhead that they these other companies do that with that we works of the world.
Frank Cottle [00:46:52] Well, yes and on the one hand, we can go anywhere we want. If Regus or we work wants to service another couple hundred clients, they need to spend a couple of million dollars to cap ex, build it out center and then sign a 10 year lease. If I want to service a couple hundred more clients so I have to pay Google about I don’t knox, five dollars a click, it takes me about three hundred fifty dollars to gain a client through the Internet. So from a investment of capital and balance sheet perspective, actually our business is much more profitable per customer than the classic model, much more profitable for a customer in particular, because we also own our own call centers. OK, so we own our own phone company, so to speak, behind our system, which means that that’s for us that’s a 65 percent margin business and our core business blended is a 46 percent margin business globally. Well, the if you looked at we work as a negative 100 percent business right now because we’re losing billions of dollars a year. Regus, who’s very well established, is about it, 10 or 12 percent margin business globally.
Ryan Roghaar [00:48:13] Well, and you know as I talked about I mean by the time you work in all these all this overhead, all this, everything else that we’ve discussed, I mean, it makes perfect sense. I mean, it’s pretty smart that you guys have managed to, you know, continue to see sort of the forward trend or what’s to come I mean, it’s pretty cool.
Frank Cottle [00:48:29] Well, I think it took close to our next generation of our company, we’ve just the shapeshifting a little bit to where we’re becoming a capital management investment company we are now investing as much, if not more, in other companies that we’re acquiring or investing in the service or industry or our around our industry as we are investing in our own core companies, but much more externally than internally. We feel that one of the best ways to help the industry to grow is to build, strengthen the technology infrastructure that the industry uses and, that the large corporate clients and government used to interface with our industry. Today, there’s no such thing, in my view, at least as an office occupier that used to be the term occupiers. Today, everybody you just mentioned from your own experience, you’re using a co-working center in LA you are using a co-working center and there around town. Today, to us, everybody is a traveler, not an occupier. It’s just how long you’re staying at that particular desk then moving to a different desk.
DJ Ontic [00:49:46] Or that particular Starbucks or the next plane.
Frank Cottle [00:49:50] Hopefully not starbucks.
DJ Ontic [00:49:53] Well, that’s where I came from.
Frank Cottle [00:49:54] They have a lack of security.
Ryan Roghaar [00:49:56] Yes well, that’s for sure.
Frank Cottle [00:49:59] A lack of security is terrifying if you understand it.
DJ Ontic [00:50:03] Well, I came from the habitual work at Starbucks for five hours a day and moved to another.
Frank Cottle [00:50:09] That’s why I have all your secret firearm.
DJ Ontic [00:50:13] But it’s so much better to have, you know, the ability to come in and have an office and have, you know, the conference room and the high speed Internet in the coffee shop around the corner is still there if I want my coffee, but I don’t have to.
Frank Cottle [00:50:27] You know, hopefully the coworking center you’re using is providing all good coffee from our nonprofit.
DJ Ontic [00:50:36] We actually might want to talk to you about that in another time.
Frank Cottle [00:50:42] Coffee shops are great places to meet up to somebody to have a cup of coffee and then goes to ride your bikes together but they’re very poor places to do business. They might be OK for a student camp for a little bit, but complete lack of privacy, total disruption, problems truly around security for your Internet usage, as well as internal bandwidth, hacking and radio hacking and stuff. It’s a pretty scary place, if you understand.
Ryan Roghaar [00:51:14] Yeah, I think that’s fair and I think a lot of people probably don’t understand all that. So I think I think that’s a key thing to understand, I think also I mean, like for me, you know, like I say, we have kind of a small company. We have an office here in Salt Lake well, our virtual office is we run around Salt Lake City and then we also have our virtual office in Barcelona. And so so we have a small team over there and then a small team over here in the states and the amenities and all that stuff. You know, like I said, I had brick and mortar before, before relocating down to Utah and the amount of money that I save and not paying a lease every month, you know, relative to the amount of amenities and just the quality of the materials and everything in the place that I’m at. You know, has elevated the office I can afford or that I can, you know, run a business out of. And it gives us a little bit of that, you know, curb appeal. You know, when people come into the office and we have this beautifully designed conference space that we can walk and it’s tough. I mean, it’s much better than the sleazy old back room I had at my old office in Idaho.
Frank Cottle [00:52:18] Well, And not only that, you have that office in Idaho and you probably had a meeting room and maybe lose reception spot. Now, how often would such diffuse now? Almost never. But you were paying for it 24/7, 365.
DJ Ontic [00:52:31] You’re paying for it. You’re buying value. You will. You have the power. You’re paying for the other stuff, too.
Frank Cottle [00:52:36] You have an on demand office. And that’s really where the whole concept of executive suites started back in the 70s. It was really following the inter-modal model of just in time inventory. So I need just in time office space. We started that concept back in the late 90s. Excuse me, or our own just in time concept in the late 90s but it was predecessor before it was in the 70s and it was the same thing on demand.
Ryan Roghaar [00:53:11] Well, yeah. And technology is facilitated, making it much easier now. So even. Yeah, yeah. Demand concept. The fact that I can just pull it up on an app now is, you know, a revolution or a real boon for that type of business because I mean, it’s like Uber, right? Everything is just at the palmier of your hand. Yeah. And so that’ll make things right. And you know, like we run into or like one of the things I really like one of the coworking is that we work here, have multiple locations, not unlike a we work or whatever. These guys are local, but they have a shop here in Salt Lake City and then they have a shop just south in a town called Lihi, which is where Adobe is building their second and third campuses and Oracle is and all the startup culture down there. So as a marketer and a guy that works in, you know, digital marketing, advertising, design, all that stuff, you know, we surround ourselves with these startups. And so that gives us me, you know, me, the opportunity to not only be in downtown Salt Lake, which is, you know, prime space where you want to be if you’re working in Salt Lake City. But I can also zip down to Lehigh and get full exposure to all the startups and all these budding companies and things that are coming up. And I get exposure to that community strictly because of the coworking. If I just had my little brick and mortar somewhere, you know, I wouldn’t meet anybody, you know, I’d said no.
Frank Cottle [00:54:20] And you’d only be talking to yourself, too. And that’s the nice thing about a business center or a co-working center or any of the new sheered off this model is just you know, it’s nice to have the interaction with others and not just have our little team of three people coming to our little office every day. I don’t care how nice it is, it’s boring.
Ryan Roghaar [00:54:38] Well, it’s true in my world like, I you know, I really benefit from conversation and from, you know, just me hearing other people’s ideas and spit balling back and forth and, you know, ideas will grow and, you know, you can start to tap into other people’s abilities and skills and work with one another on different things and I mean, it just expedites the whole process of developing a business. And that really couldn’t happen without that, you know.
Frank Cottle [00:55:00] That brings us full circle to where the conversation started about balance. You have better balance when you’re interacting with others, when you’re isolated on your own. So that’s, you know, just a good, good thing to consider about the community concept.
DJ Ontic [00:55:16] Well, one thing that I picked up on another podcast and I was listening to you just kind of doing some research, you said one of your friends does this thing called like, what is it? It’s a luncheon lunch with a stranger.
Frank Cottle [00:55:32] Lunch with a stranger here, yeah.
DJ Ontic [00:55:34] And we’re saying that you don’t like going to networking events, but you like meeting and having coffee with people talking.
Frank Cottle [00:55:42] When you walk into the classical chamber of Commerce, wine and cheese networking mixer, you know, you went over to talk to your three or four friends. You all stood around in a little circle and talk to each other and then maybe they introduced you to somebody else but it was really kind of a little clip. Little groups of clicks hanging out together, and it was the same old people the single time saying the same old things and so, I’m not a big fan of that I like one on one hundred or small group meetings where you have a purpose. Hey, I’m here to talk about this, and everybody knows it and vice versa to where you can explore ideas and explore things very quickly and easily and then how kind of a real friend not a Facebook friend, It just expands.
Ryan Roghaar [00:56:36] Yeah, now, I think you’re right you know, I’ve been to a number of these different co, mingling and, you know, mixers and social nights and all this stuff. And, you know, you always find that the one guy that’s just running around and giving everyone their business card indiscriminantly, but they don’t know you, they don’t have any real interest they just want to grab everybody. It’s like, you know. So, that seems to me like the type of people you get at those networking events as it’s hurry up and get exposed to as many people as you can as quickly as you can.
DJ Ontic [00:57:03] And many of them actually call you.
Ryan Roghaar [00:57:05] Yeah, well, there’s just no depth to the relationship you know, it’s this very transactional “hi I’m so and so here’s my business card onto the next one where like what?” You’re describing this lunch with a stranger and I have a little experience I should talk about around that, you know, gives you an opportunity to kind of dove deep and get to know a person and understand what they’re trying to do. And, you know, I think that I mean, in our company, relationships are really key and actually, last year in the middle of the year, our company experienced kind of a big hiccup where we found ourselves with a shortage of clients and our portfolio of people had just kind of withered over time and wasn’t growing quickly anymore. And I got on LinkedIn and I just started hitting up every random ad agency owner and CEO in the tech space and anybody I could get and, you know, I had surprisingly good results, but I had a few people who did this same kind of thing where, you know, one day a week they met with a random stranger about whatever they’re doing and of all the people that I met doing that, including CEOs, and CMO’s of some huge companies, really great companies, you know, I’ve developed relationships now we have friendships, I can call them ripping them, you know, hey, I’ve got this concern, I’m trying to solve this problem, whatever it is. And because we did this one on one and, you know, it cost me a bowl of Ramen or something, you know, I mean, it was like 20 bucks. And now now I’ve got this adviser that’s invaluable to me. And, you know, so I really like that idea of this sort of lunch with a stranger or, you know, at least having a specific reason for meeting the person you’re trying to meet.
Frank Cottle [00:58:35] Well, come down to Newport Beach and I promise to buy you a better lunch.
Ryan Roghaar [00:58:40] Well, you know, they’ve got this fancy Ramen now, right? I mean, you know, you can still get it for eleven cents.
Frank Cottle [00:58:44] I still yeah. I can beat, I can beat the ramen, yeah.
Ryan Roghaar [00:58:50] Unfortunately, it was such short notice I was I mean, I was just in Santa Anna on Friday, and so I was not far from you.
Frank Cottle [00:58:57] No, not at all.
Ryan Roghaar [00:58:57] Yeah, I have clients there near the island, whatever they call that mall there in Newport…
Frank Cottle [00:59:02] Fashion Island.
Ryan Roghaar [00:59:03] Yeah yeah and also, you know, it has your edge there.
Frank Cottle [00:59:06] That’s actually where my offices are.
Ryan Roghaar [00:59:08] Oh, how interesting. I wonder if you I mean, because there’s only a couple of big buildings around the perimeter. I wonder if you’re one of them.
Frank Cottle [00:59:13] So, no, we’re down to the low rise buildings down on PCH row. OK.
Ryan Roghaar [00:59:19] How cool. How funny. So anyway. Yes, next time I come around.
Frank Cottle [00:59:22] Yeah, you’ll give me a call. I don’t I’m not a big fan of elevators, they take time and they’re always on the wrong floor so, I like gardens style offices. I like it, drive up, walk in, all done.
Ryan Roghaar [00:59:36] Nothing wrong with that. Especially if you’re in Newport. It’s nice to be up a walk down and get out into the weather because it’s always good.
Frank Cottle [00:59:41] Doesn’t hurt either, talking about lunch with a friend issue one of the smaller coworking centers that we dealt with a long time ago had a good practice. Every time a new member would join the center, they would walk the member around even in the initial two hour process and introduce them to people and then the reception of the center’s primary job was to make sure every day that the members had lunch together somehow. And so she was pretty good at it and even inside of the restrooms, you’d leave the restroom there is little sign on the edge that says “who are you having lunch with today?”.
DJ Ontic [01:00:23] I love that.
Ryan Roghaar [01:00:24] Yeah, that’s really…
Frank Cottle [01:00:24] Really simple, really simple, but it kept everybody attuned to that and then the receptionist would say, as you walked out the door, hey, George and Harry just went down the street to the cafe once you join them.
Ryan Roghaar [01:00:36] Yeah, that’s great.
Frank Cottle [01:00:37] The littlest thing, brought the group together.
DJ Ontic [01:00:41] This sense of community is a relationship, yeah, I love the sense of community.
Ryan Roghaar [01:00:47] Well, yeah and, you know, I mean, I can’t speak for everybody, of course, but I mean, you know, for a lot of people like me and in the tax base and places like that, we’re not all wild extroverts. You know, we’re not dying to rent out and meet people we know we need to as a function of business or whatever but I mean, it might not be, at least in my case, until recent years, it definitely wasn’t my first inclination. I would have much rather been the guy to drop in emails all day and call it good. It was really until I started meeting more people and getting out and making more of these relationships, that it’s become easier for me but, it certainly wasn’t my natural inclination. So back to your point, one of the coworking spaces I work out of does something similar and I should add, maybe I’ll just namedrop on they’re called Kilner here in Salt Lake, they’re kind of locally owned, operated kind of thing. But they do this thing through their slack channel and I don’t know if this is a software or something, I mean, but it’s called what is it like drinks and donuts or something like that and it’s the same kind of premise but, each week you’re automatically put in touch with somebody and, you know, the idea is that you guys will meet for coffee or whatever so, you know, speaking of your coffee business, you know, all these shops are tied up around coffee. And so they basically, you know, automatically just assign you somebody and then be between the two of you you set up a time to meet and I’ve only done this twice now since starting at this space. But the first one, I became a member of their advisory board on their startup based on the lunch that we had together. And I’ve got another one this week with a developer from a startup over here. So it’ll be kind of an interesting thing but I love that premise or that idea and it’s, you know, building community, but it’s also forcing those who might not otherwise go looking for it and so I love that bit.
Frank Cottle [01:02:32] You know, the concept of breaking bread is… timeless, sitting down and having a meal with someone and sharing together is a timeless act and process so, but it usually has a sense of intimacy to it banquet, is not the same as having a private meal.
Ryan Roghaar [01:02:53] Well, yeah. You know, as I mentioned, we have an office over in Barcelona, and I don’t know if you’re real familiar with there with the area or anything, but then they you know, the Spanish culture totally hinges on that personal relationship and, you know, I mean, a lot of the clients we’ve we’ve been fortunate enough to start work with, or you know, are still working on. I mean, we’ve been having conversations for three, four years just trying to kind of ingratiate ourselves with them because, you know, you’re competing with their cousin or their friend or their or whatever, you know and so as an outsider to come in, you’ve really got to do that relationship, you know, and maybe they’re just taking advantage me for their, you know, free beers. But, you know, it’s always. But I really enjoy it.
Frank Cottle [01:03:31] Yes, they are. In Spain, that’s particularly important all the regional bases in Catalonia, even more so than the rest of Spain. I’m very familiar with Spain lots of time there.
Ryan Roghaar [01:03:46] Yeah, and that was one of the big, I guess, eye openers for us, you know, because prior to doing business in Spain and I won’t get into the whole story, but prior to doing business in Spain, I was really solopreneur eyes down, working behind my computer as a designer mostly, and just doing that kind of work all day by myself in the office, you know, like no social life, no anything. Through a series of events, we ended up finding a partner in Barcelona and took the business over there and on my first trip to Barcelona, it opened my eyes to this whole other way of living. You know, this idea of developing friendships and developing relationships and, you know, being, you know, allowing yourself to be intimate with people like that, you know, and I think that for me, it was a big game changer. It changed the whole way we run the company, you know, and really, I mean, we put so much value on the relationships almost above anything else. And, you know, when but that was sort of born in Spain.
Frank Cottle [01:04:35] Yeah, when you particularly when you cross borders, you learn very quickly the contracts do not solve problems only relationships solve problems. We do a lot of work in the Middle East and Russia and places like that where, you know, the guy who owns the country where you’re contracting with so you know the contracts, no good. All he has to do is say, “oh, we change the law”, you know, or “I’m the minister of this, and so we’re not doing it’. So your contract never sees you in business and it should you shouldn’t depend upon it to save you. You’re going to have challenges in business, you’re going to have problems, every issue is always gonna have a problem and it’s your problem solving that’s important and a big percentage of that is round relationships and the trust.
Ryan Roghaar [01:05:29] Yeah, I think you’re right. Yeah, I think trust right there is the key I mean, honestly, the developing of those relationships and what I think what I like about it so much and you know, as a kid, I mean, I’m on the cusp, you know, where half of my life I had the Internet and half of it I didn’t and so I’m at least kind of on the cusp of not like these kids that have only grown up on the Internet but, I really find value in things like that seem a little bit old fashioned, you know, like I mean, nowadays and even the way I started my business in the early days, we did everything online. There were years I never met clients, even, you know, people that I just strictly worked with on the Internet because the Internet facilitated that and now as I’ve matured and the business has matured and the type of clients we’re getting our better, you know, the relationship thing has come back into it. And I’m really finding that the sort of the quaintness of that hand to hand, you know, relationship, the handshake, and they’re sitting down and breaking bread or whatever is you know, it just it makes everything more enjoyable, it’s more meaningful. And even though it could all be facilitated online or by voice chat or whatever, there’s something totally different magical about taking the moment, you know, to actually spend with the person.
Frank Cottle [01:06:38] No, it is it it’s very, very important and it helps you grow as much as them always.
Ryan Roghaar [01:06:46] Yeah I mean, like even to your earlier point about just being surrounded by all these amazing people and in the yachting business early on in your career, you know how influential those people were in your life, being surrounded by all these successful people who can sort of help guide your ship a little bit to to stay in the yachting world.
Frank Cottle [01:07:04] And that was a I was very fortunate in that regard. Good team, good people and having fun at the same time it’s doing what I love. So that was great.
DJ Ontic [01:07:15] Frank, before we get out of here, are there any books you’re reading right now or anything that we should kind of do some research on?
Frank Cottle [01:07:25] No, I’m more of a news freak than reading somebody else’s ideas about what they did three years ago that made them successful. I don’t necessarily think it applies to today so, I’m very much a current events in the news freak. I think that the one piece of guidance I would throw out in that general regard, though, is that when people ask me about our industry or ask me about things and, you know, you’ve done this, you’ve done that. My position and my consideration of myself is and my goal every day is to simply be the best student of our industry and to spend every day, an hour or two specifically in study, reading, learning, calling someone and asking, exploring and not looking down at my computer, but looking out at the world every day and make that a discipline. So, I don’t know that a particular book or a particular following a particular news group or this or that is so important as a concept of what can I do today to learn about my industry and to be an expert at your industry? Not just I read a really cool book about this guy that was in the automotive industry and he redesigned this and he has these great theories. Are you in the automotive industry? No. Okay, well, good for you, now let’s read about the industry and really be a good student of your own industry and become an expert.
Ryan Roghaar [01:09:04] Yeah, I think that’s a nice, nice twist, I think right now, there seems to be a lot of people who are kind of grasping at straws or trying to guam off of the experience of those who have found success and things like that, rather than just going out and doing themselves, they sort of get caught up in it and I do this myself sometimes get kind of caught up in the… How did he become rich or how did he get to wherever? And I want that for myself but all I can do is read his book when really what I ought to be doing is working, or like you’re saying, study your business, study your industry and I like that idea that the concept of becoming a student I think that’s wise.
DJ Ontic [01:09:43] One thing that is a key too is actually knowing what you want to do and having a goal and working in that direction versus jumping around and not knowing what you’re working on.
Frank Cottle [01:09:53] Also I think, you know, the first obligation or the first step in being a leader. Simply to lead. Is about, up simply to do it, the second most important step is to look back over your shoulder, make sure those people following, you know, you can lead in the wrong direction.
DJ Ontic [01:10:13] So we’ve got a conga line of one.
Ryan Roghaar [01:10:15] But it’s a great congo.
Frank Cottle [01:10:18] I’ve seen that video. No, It’s really things people this is my own opinion, make things way too complicated. Life is pretty simple, you know, you get up, you do what you want to do all day long, hopefully. Well, what might that explain explained to you? We’re talking a long time ago when I was a kid, it’s 20 life to me. You know, I’m 16 years old this is life is like when everybody was a caveman, you know, during the day you were and hunted to kill the mastodon or two and maybe pick some berries and you brought the stuff back. So at night, when you sat around the fire and you song and you put art on the walls of the cave, that’s life and so, it’s a balance that’s important.
DJ Ontic [01:11:10] Some of my fondest memories are dropping a crab pot in the Puget Sound and having a few beers with friends and, you know, you know, it’s you just can’t you can’t relive those moments if you know, if you haven’t experienced that and had that kind of relationship with people, you don’t know what you’re missing. Yeah.
Ryan Roghaar [01:11:27] Yeah. Well, and just kind of put that, that point to bed. I think the, you know, the idea of being the leader and actually being the one who is, you know, helping to steer the industry much like it sounds like you’ve been able to accomplish in your business, as you know, really just goes to that point of, you know, look, just get out there and lead and stop looking for the answers everywhere else you know, find you know, find your way. And I think that that’s, you know, a really good place to leave this conversation.
Frank Cottle [01:11:52] So, yeah, I agree for two reasons. One, I have an appointment.
Ryan Roghaar [01:12:01] All right. Perfect.
Frank Cottle [01:12:02] It’s one of those not Ramen lunches.
DJ Ontic [01:12:04] Oh, nice.
Ryan Roghaar [01:12:05] All right. Well well, then let’s wrap this up quick. Basically, you can learn more about Frank Cottle at AllianceVirtualOffices.com and follow me on LinkedIn at LinkedIn.com/FrankCottle Alliance virtual on Facebook and Twitter. And of course, we’ll publish all those notes on the show here. So thanks so much for your time. Frank, really appreciate it, I am going to take you up on that lunch next time in California. So we ready for that?
Frank Cottle [01:12:28] I’m ready for that any time.
DJ Ontic [01:12:31] You right, you might have a stranger tagging along with you.
Frank Cottle [01:12:33] Yeah, I’ve heard that there are strangers to tag along with them often.
Ryan Roghaar [01:12:40] It’s true but it’s that conga line. You know, I’m working on the conga line it’s so cool. Thanks so much, Frank, have a great day and we’ll talk to everybody. Thanks, sir. tuning in on the Livestream and everything and we’ll see everybody next week.
Frank Cottle [01:12:51] Perfect, take care.